Saudi Arabia is going to sign contracts with 12 American companies on the upcoming Saturday (20 May) during the official visit of President Donald Trump, which will also be his first foreign trip. The shortlisted companies include oilfield services firms such as Baker Hughes, Halliburton and Schlumberger, which are part of the oil giant’s push to develop local manufacturing. Saudi Aramco is poised to sign deals with General Electric (GE) and drilling companies National Oilwell Varco (NOV), Nabors Industries and Rowan Companies, among others. Most of the companies involved could not be reached or declined to comment.
Aramco has been traditionally involved in massive projects with US companies, covering project management services and consultancy as well as maintaining oil potential in upstream projects and drilling and building refineries. In 2015, Aramco launched the In-Kingdom Total Value Add program (IKTVA) that aims to double the amount of locally produced energy-related goods and services to 70 percent by 2021. The IKTVA, Arabic for self-sufficiency, will create half a million of direct and indirect jobs for Saudis and it is the crucial element in the kingdom’s Vision 2030 economic reform program in which Aramco plays a major role in developing industrial projects.
Saudi Arabia is trying to diversify its oil-dependent economy as the sector is struggling with low crude prices and Riyadh appears to count on US companies to help the country facilitate the process of developing local manufacturing. However, the oil industry will be not the only one that will benefit from President Trump’s official visit – deals are also expected to be signed in defense, electricity, oil and gas, industrial and chemical sectors. New licenses for American companies to do business in the kingdom will also be issued.